How to Choose the Right TV: 6 Things to Consider

 

There are so many great reasons to invest in a bigger, better television right now. For sports fans, the college football championship and NFL playoffs are coming up, as is the NHL season, and basketball is already in full swing. If you’re a movie buff,  Warner Brothers studio will be releasing all 2021 films in theaters and to stream on HBO Max simultaneously, so you won’t have to wait to enjoy the very latest releases at home. And with a plethora of other streaming options at your fingertips, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and more there’s an almost endless supply of video content available.  

The hunt for a new TV can seem a bit daunting, though, as current models come in all kinds of sizes, with many different technologies, features and price points. Here’s a few simple guidelines to make your search a little easier. 

Screen Size

Let’s put it this way — we’ve never heard a customer say, “I wish I’d bought a smaller TV.” To enjoy the real theater experience at home you’ll want to get the largest TV that works for your room and viewing position. 

What’s the optimum viewing distance? One of the main benefits of the increased resolution of today’s 4K Ultra HD (and 8K) sets is the ability to sit much closer to the screen without noticing the pixel structure. With 4K you can sit close — 1 to 1-1/2 times the screen size, or between 5.4 and 8.1 feet for a 65-inch set. The closer you sit, the more detail you can see and the more enveloping your viewing experience becomes. 

HD, 4K or 8K?

Samsung The FrameWith a resolution of 1080p, an HDTV displays about 2 million pixels on its screen. This pixel density provides a great amount of detail to the viewer, but a 4K TV displays 8 million pixels —four times the amount of information being shown by 1080p! The perceived difference in detail and color is truly dramatic. You’ll see deeper blacks, vibrant color, stunning sharpness and detail. 

These days, our customers overwhelmingly opt for 4K models. We still sell some HDTVs, most of them smaller than 50-inches, as at those screen sizes the difference in resolution between HD and 4K is nearly imperceptible. A smaller HDTV is an affordable choice for an office, kid’s bedroom or anywhere else you don’t need a large screen size.

To get the most out of your 4K TV you need 4K content, which is becoming more widely available. Cable and satellite providers have 4K offerings, and apps such as Netflix and Amazon Prime stream much of their programming in 4K. Still, though, most of the content out there is in 1080p (HD resolution) and upconverted by the TV to 4K. The video processing necessary to do this typically is very good, but to really enjoy 4K in all its glory you’ll want to search out native 4K content. 

Upconversion technology is especially important when it comes to 8K TV, the newest format available. Just as 4K has four times the number of pixels as 1080p HD, 8K has four times as many as 4K — over 33 million pixels! You can practically bump your nose on the screen before you see the pixel structure of an 8K TV, which again means that you can put a larger screen in your room and sit closer to it, for a thoroughly immersive experience. There is currently no native 8K video content available to consumers, though, hence the importance of upconversion technology. An 8K uses advanced algorithms to upconvert a video signal from 1080p or 4K up to 8K so it can be displayed on the screen. The result is riveting.

LCD/LED, QLED or OLED?  

LED LCD OLED TVThere are basically two types of TVs to choose from: LCD/LED, and OLED. Current LCD/LED TVs have several LED backlighting schemes that illuminate the LCD pixels; the more complex backlighting systems perform better and cost more. OLED TVs use a pixel by pixel display, a technology that doesn’t use any backlighting at all, as each pixel brightens and dims individually. 

QLED is a proprietary technology from Samsung which stands for "quantum dot LED." QLED is a variation of LED LCD, adding a quantum dot film to the LCD "sandwich." QLED, like LCD, is "transmissive" and relies on an LED backlight.

LCD/LED TV  sets are not as thin as OLEDs, but not by much. LEDs are brighter than OLEDs, but barely. OLEDs have deeper blacks as each pixel can be turned completely off, while LCDs can only dim their pixels — but can still create outstanding black levels. These factors result in OLEDs having better contrast ratios, but LCDs with HDR have brighter colors. HDR (High Dynamic Range) dramatically increases the contrast and color saturation range of the image displayed. We feel that HDR is a must-have feature for any 4K TV purchase as the “pop” it adds to the picture is amazing.

Recommended Models

Part of Sony’s top-of-the-line MASTER Series, the XBR-77A9G is a stunning 77-inch OLED HDR 4K TV. Its state-of-the-art Picture Processor X1™ Ultimate detects hundreds of different objects on-screen and intelligently enhances brightness, detail and color so everything you watch is clear, bright and incredibly realistic.

For the design-conscious, Samsung’s The Frame is an elegant option. Available in a variety of screen sizes, The Frame is an outstanding 4K TV that comes with a customizable frame and transforms into a beautiful work of art when you’re not watching TV. Through the Art Store, update your framed screen with a library of established and emerging artists’ work, and you can even upload your own digital files.

LG TVIf you’re interested in the biggest and best picture currently available, check out the LG OLED88ZXPUA 88-inch 8K TV. It employs over 8.3 million pixels that emit their own light and turn completely off, creating a stunning picture that allows you to see every detail.

Other Sony models to check out include the Sony XBR-65950H, XBR-75800G and XBR-85950H

Sound Bar or Surround Sound System?

Our advice is to always use an auxiliary sound system of some type. Consider a full-blown surround setup or a sound bar, both of which can provide the audio precision and dynamic range that internal TV speakers just can’t match. For your main viewing room and any other areas where space and budget allow, we recommend going with a full surround system with five or more speakers, subwoofer and receiver. 

A sound bar is typically one unit (containing multiple speakers to create the surround effect) that mounts under the TV and sometimes includes a separate wireless subwoofer. Sound bars are compact and less expensive, and with today’s advanced articulating wall brackets, the sound bar can be mounted under the TV so that they move together when you pull the set out from the wall. Here are a couple sound bars we really like:

Sonos Arc tvThe Sonos Arc features eleven high-performance drivers for crisp highs, dynamic midranges, and surprising deep bass, and its slim profile can be discreetly mounted or placed on furniture. When the TV is off, Arc acts as a Sonos speaker so you can enjoy all your streaming music services, locally stored files, Internet radio and more. 

With an included wireless subwoofer, the Denon DHT-S516H Sound Bar provides room-filling sound for all your video programming, along with  HEOS built-in which gives you access to all your streaming music. 

As a specialty dealer, our team of experts have the expertise to guide you through the process and make sure you get the right TV and sound for your particular room and budget. Chat or call us to discuss options.